Whitetail Hunting photo

Mock scraping is nothing new to serious deer hunters, and most of us recognize that the overhanging branch is critical to making a mock that rocks. Indeed, it’s a fairly common practice to wire, tape or nail a branch to a tree of our choosing, rather than limit our scrape construction to a tree that already sports a branch that grows at the right height.

But this weekend I was shown a new (to me)–and highly successful–takeoff on this technique. My friend and fellow whitetail fanatic Billy Jerowski took me to a farm he hunts. Twenty yards from one of his best stand sites, Billy had strung a wire across a good deer trail, about seven feet off the ground. From the wire, Billy had made not just one “licking branch” but several. Using zip ties and/or light wire, Billy attached cedar branches, vines, and even rope to the main wire. These “branches” didn’t parallel the ground, they simply dangled toward it, hanging just high enough for a buck to get his antlers and head into the tangle and play around.

According to my friend, bucks have gone berserk over this system. As the photo shows, early summer vegetation is lush here now, but last fall’s scrape(s) were still highly visible under these licking branches. Billy said the sign under his mocks was even more impressive last year. The bucks love to get their antlers up into the dangling ropes, vines and branches, where they can thrash them, leave their own scent, and investigate odors left by other bucks. Of course the great thing about this system is that you can make a mock scrape in a spot where you have all the advantage. You not only don’t need an existing overhanging branch….you don’t even need a tree!

Your thoughts? Any experiments of a similar nature that you’ve tried?